Rutherford Institute Challenging Suspension of Va. Student

February 10, 2011

A civil liberties group has filed a lawsuit challenging the suspension of a Virginia high school freshman who hit classmates with plastic pellets blown from a tube.

Charlottesville's Rutherford Institute says it filed the suit Wednesday in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court on behalf of 14-year-old Andrew Mikel II.

Along with being suspended in December for the rest of the school year, Mikel was charged with misdemeanor assault, a charge that would be dropped if he completes a yearlong diversion program.

Rutherford Institute president John Whitehead said Mikel is the latest in a line of victims of school zero-tolerance policies that defy common sense and essentially criminalize childish behavior.

School officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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